What bloggers are saying about the new Marco Polo Pocket Guides

We launched our new series of Marco Polo Pocket Guides in 2018 and it has been wonderful seeing the positive response to the new updated guides. Here is a sampling from our favourite (travel) bloggers and what they are saying about the new Pocket Guides:

Jam and Clotted Cream

Devon and Cornwall guide:  “What I like about the guide –
It’s very family focused, containing lots of useful hints and tips on things to do with children. The ‘Great Places for Free’ section of the guide gave me some new idea’s for free days out and free activities to try – always handy as 3 children can equal a lot of money!

The guide contains a large pull out map as well as several road maps in the back of the guide, making orientation easy.

As a food blogger I’m always drawn to food and drink elements of guidebooks. Marco Polo didn’t let me down, with a comprehensive section on ‘local delicacies’ including stargazy pie, pasties and of course the famous cream tea – jam first obviously! Throughout the guide there are also insider tips on lovely cafe’s and restaurants to try. I love the fact they picked up on Woods Cafe in Cardinham Woods. They sell the most amazing homemade cakes…and pulled pork rolls too. Another one of our favourite family days out.” Read the full post here: jamandclottedcream.co.uk


Photo credit: sarahfunky.com

New York guide: “While traveling the world, I always used Marco Polo guide books in all destinations. I’m pretty much obsessed with them! If you’ve never been to NYC, I recommend picking up a Marco Polo guidebook before you arrive. In addition to good suggestions on entertainment, food & drink, shopping, and sightseeing, they also come with a great interactive app, and a pull out map. Plus, the photography in the book is stunning!” Read the full post here: sarahfunky.com

The Wandering Quinn

Photo credit: thewanderingquinn.com

Rome guide: “…after 2 days of seeing the sights, both on my own and on a tour I felt like I needed to see a side of Rome that wasn’t so touristy. I wanted to get under the skin of Rome a bit more, so on my last day I visited Trastevere and with the help of the New Marco Polo Rome Guide I explored a greener and quieter side of Rome which included Trastevere, Gianicolo Hill and the River Tiber. Despite the rain (apologies in advance for the grey photos), I had such a good time and I’m so glad that I ventured over the river into this area of Rome. — I found the New Marco Polo Rome Guide really helpful and are a few other short walks in there too that I would definitely do if I go back to Rome, plus its filled with information!” Read the full post here: thewanderingquinn.com

Sophie Cliff

Photo credit: sophiecliff.com

Barcelona guide: “Sam and I both remarked that it was really good fun to “get lost with a purpose” and that’s exactly how following this discovery tour felt – there was no marching from one location to the next, instead we got to take each destination at our own pace and amble around some areas of the city that were totally new to us.

Each of the new Marco Polo pocket guides come with 4-5 perfectly tailored discovery tours that help you get off the beaten track, and I think they may be my new favourite way to discover a different side to a city. We’re already trying to decide which one we might follow when we visit New York later in the year!” Read the full post here: sophiecliff.com

Hand Luggage Only

Photo credit: handluggageonly.co.uk

Malta & Gozo guide: “A few weeks ago, the gang at Marco Polo Guides asked if we wanted to try scouting out some of their tips on our next trip (which piqued my interest straight away). Using their Malta and Gozo guide we decided to search for some of the ‘insider tips’ on the best things to do in Malta.

Suffice to say, I’m a real sucker for insider tips… Essentially, anything that means I get to make the most of my time on the islands (like those insider tips featuring some of the lesser-known spots in Malta and Gozo) is an opportunity I’ll always jump at while travelling.

After a little bedtime reading of the guide, I found a heap of recommendations that actually ended up saving my bacon on a few occasions. The tips on parking rules (i.e. how no parking or no stopping isn’t really shown with signs but instead with just the lines on the floor – which is totally different to back home in the UK) really helped and saved me a whole lot of unnecessary spend.” Read the full post here: handluggageonly.co.uk


Photo credit: cornishbirdblog.com

Devon and Cornwall guide: “There were no surprises for me, the guide includes everything that you would expect (speaking from a Cornish perspective), you’ll find all the most popular, picturesque and must see places but I was delighted to find some added extras too.

I particularly liked the Discovery Tours section towards the back of the book, this can be used as is or with the Free Touring App. These tailored routes help you to explore the region by guiding you from one awesome destination to the next. They also include details on cost and how long it should all take you. Some of the routes last a couple of weeks others are just a fun packed day trip.” Read the full post here: cornishbirdblog.com

Find our full range of guide books and maps here on Amazon.

What is your favourite Marco Polo travel guide?

Something to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Marco Polo’s 24 Holiday traditions from around the world – Day 24: London Christmas crackers

Happy Christmas Eve to all! It’s Day 24 of our Advent Calendar which means that it is time for the final Holiday tradition. For this one we don’t have to travel far, as we are taking a look at the good old Christmas crackers. Did you miss yesterday’s post? Check it out here!

Photo credit: Saz B on Unsplash


What is Christmas without Christmas crackers with the paper crowns, riddles and silly jokes? But, did you know that Christmas crackers have only been around for less than 200 years? In 1847, a Londoner, Tom Smith, was trying to figure out a way to promote the sales of his bonbons. He first experimented with the adding of messages into the wrappers, small “love messages.” According to a tale, still trying to improve his sales numbers, Mr Smith was lighting a fire and when he heard the logs crackle, he found the inspiration to create a bonbon that would crack when pulled open. Mr Smith called his new cracking bonbon “the Cosaque” but – to Mr Smith’s dismay – the term “cracker,” invented by his competitors, was the one that stuck. The explosive popularity of the crackers was a bit of a double-edged sword for Mr Smith, and for his son, Walter Smith. Eventually competition was popping up everywhere and Mr Smith the younger had to find a way to distinguish their crackers from those sold by everyone else. This is when he decided to abandon the sweets entirely and the crackers we know today were truly born, with the paper crown, the riddle and the trinket.

Will you be pulling crackers this Christmas?


Buy the London Marco Polo Spiral Guide

London Marco Polo Spiral GuideSomething to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

What bloggers are saying about Marco Polo Guides

Our travel guides are often found in the hands of travel bloggers and who better to put them to the test! Here is what a few of them had to say about Marco Polo Guides:

Heels in My Backpack

Photo credit: heelsinmybackpack.com

Rome Spiral Guide: “It’s difficult when you’re visiting somewhere for the first time and only have a short amount of time to experience it. How are you meant to prioritise what to do? Should you just hit the big time high profile sights? Try to go off the beaten path?

Well this is the predicament I was in when I visited Rome last month. My Anchored cruise was departing on the Sunday and I decided to fly in on the Friday night so I could enjoy a full Saturday of Rome goodness. So essentially I needed to experience Rome in a day… I mean I know Rome wasn’t built in a day so presumably it would be difficult to see it all in a day, right?

Enter my brand new and shiny Marco Polo Spiral Guide to Rome.

To maximise my time, I thought I’d try out one of their ‘Perfect Day’ itineraries to make sure I was making the most of this glorious day.

And it really was glorious, it was 33 degrees celsius on this particular day. Not the ideal temp for walking around in the boiling sun all day, but hey, I went with it.
There are several day itineraries in the guide but I decided to go for the ‘Ancient City’ variation. Mainly because it included the Colosseum and I’m basic like that. But also because it looked like it had a good mix of the big sights I had heard of and under the radar gems.” See the full post here: heelsinmybackpack.com.

The Sunny Side of This

Photo credit: thesunnysideofthis.com

Brussels Pocket Guide: “My favorite parts of their guide were the Do’s and Dont’s of Belgium (particularly the driving laws of the city), the useful phrases section both in French and Dutch, and their Discovery Tours suggestions. For this review we did a little bit of a mix and match of their Discovery Tours section, given that we had the baby with us and we wanted to go around by public transportation.

We were also very relieved that the restaurant suggestions all come with the place’s schedules. Restaurants in Brussels are usually not open on Sundays, and only open during lunch time or dinner (ex. 12-2, and 6-9pm). Luckily, the park we visited had a festival that particular weekend and it was filled with food trucks!” Read more on thesunnysideofthis.com.

Sophie’s Suitcase

Photo credit: sophiessuitcase.com

London Spiral Guide: “I had a lovely 48 wandering London and used my trusty guide to keep me heading in the right direction and I came across so many lesser known shops, cafes and restaurants because of this. Marco Polo Travel Guide books trump other equivalent maps because each time the book mentions a place, whether it’s a cafe, bar or landmark, it also makes sure it references the map co-ordinates too so that you can find the place super easy. BINGO!” See the full post on sophiessuitcase.com.

Photo credit: sophiessuitcase.com

Paris Spiral Guide: “We also sat down with a cup of tea and planned the next 48 hours of our lives, in beautiful Paris! I don’t know why but I hadn’t really asked for tips and tricks from the internet and instead was relying solely on my new Marco Polo Travel Guide to get us from one spot to another.

As we were only going to be in Paris for 48 hours we circled the places we really wanted to visit, and then crossed a few others off the list that we would save for another trip. We mapped out our route for the days and used the book to find out opening times, entry prices and how we would get there.” Read more on sophiessuitcase.com.

Tara Povey – Where is Tara

Photo credit: whereistara.com

Dublin Spiral Guide: “If it’s your first time in Dublin, especially if you’re just visiting for a weekend, you might feel a bit overwhelmed about where to begin and how to really make the most of your time to experience the best that the city has in store. Never fear. Marco Polo and I are here to help you out. Marco Polo, you ask? The famous explorer? Well, kind of – The Marco Polo Dublin guide, stuffed to the gills with useful information. It’s a real gem when it comes to maximizing your time and planning your trip. Each part of the city is handily dealt with in separate sections. It’s easy to see at a glance which attractions are close to each other, how to get to them, and where to find great food without going out of your way. Navigating and finding your way around has never been easier.” Find out more on whereistara.com.

Alice – Teacake Travels

Photo credit: teacaketravels.com

London Spiral Guide: “There’s just so much to see and do around London! You could spend months and months here without barely scratching the surface. Yet, when time is so short, we need to get to the point!

What if you want to do something different, like that time I set out to discover the street art scene in Shoreditch? What if you want to see a different side of London, hangout in places that you won’t find in most guidebooks, see the city’s charmingly British eccentricity and hit up some of the most weird London attractions?

You could spend hours searching for tidbits online or alternatively arm yourself with my advice and a copy of the Marco Polo London spiral guide.

Divided into sections for different parts of the city, each chapter has a handy map and suggestions on how to maximize your time, leaving you able to discover the different parts of London with ease. There’s also terrific digestible recommendations for places to eat and drink in here, to stop you feeling overwhelmed from all the wonderful dining options in London!” See the full post on teacaketravels.com.


Find our full range of guide books and maps here on Amazon.

What is your favourite Marco Polo travel guide?

Something to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Eat Like a Local – London

British food has long ceased to be good for a cheap laugh; today, London boasts over 50 Michelin-starred eateries and fulfils all culinary desires: from Afghan to Zen food; kosher-Chinese, garlic cuisine and gluten-free options – there are many new cuisines to explore. And the sushi and tapas fever continues too.

London Marco Polo Guide

Local specialities to try on your visit to London:

For those who are unfamiliar with English food, here are some items found in London’s
pubs, cafés and restaurants that visitors from other parts of the English-speaking
world may find puzzling.

Ale – heavier dark beer, ideally drunk at cellar temperature, with many regional variations; one local favourite is London Pride.

Bangers & mash – sausages and mashed potato. Often to be found in pubs, like bubble & squeak (mashed potato with green cabbage, originally a leftovers dish) and shepherd’s pie made from mutton or beef mincemeat, covered with a mashed potato crust.

Cider – naturally cloudy alcoholic apple drink; stronger than French cidre.

Crisps – national potato snack, not to be confused with chips (fries)!

Crumpets – round soft yeasty muffin with holes; fabulous with butter and the dark-brown, love-it-or-hate-it Marmite yeast extract.

Curry – korma and masala curries are mild, Madras curries rather hot, vindaloo is extra hot. Common starters are thin poppadums (wafer-thin chickpea-flour crispbread) with pickles (onions, mint sauce, chutney); there’s also naan bread or chipati flatbread.

Custard – vanilla sauce, often served as an alternative to liquid whipped cream, e.g. with apple pie, ice cream or fruit crumbles.

Fish & chips – the famous national dish: breaded fish & fries with salt and malt vinegar.

Pie – mincemeat in pastry, Victorian fast food, originally with an eel filling. Eel is a Cockney speciality and can be sampled (jellied or stewed) in the few remaining eel, pie & mash shops of the East End.

Roast – a Sunday roast – roast beef or roast chicken with roast potatoes and sauce – is served in hotel carveries and many (gastro) pubs.

Scones – sweet and crumbly; with butter, jam and cream (or even clotted cream) they are a firm part of traditional afternoon tea.


Restaurants serving traditional English cuisine:

Afternoon Tea

This stylish five-star hotel has already received the Tea Council award for the best afternoon tea in London. In the Palm Court expect alongside finger sandwiches and scones original and unusual variations, e. g. candied orange peel in a glass filled with colourful sugar. Afternoon tea daily 2–6pm | 1 C Portland Place, Regent Street | tel. 79 65 01 95 | http://www.langhamhotels.co.uk | tube: Oxford Circus

Tea at the Ritz, between marble pillars and chandeliers, is a society ritual worth sharing. £53 gets you the city’s finest tea, sandwiches, scones, patisseries. You may also like to order a song from the pianist with a little card! For gentlemen, a jacket and tie are obligatory: no jeans or trainers! Booking essential. Daily 11.30am, 1.30, 3.30, 5.30, 7.30pm | 150 Piccadilly | tel. 73 00 23 45 | http://www.theritzlondon.com | tube: Green Park (Jubilee, Piccadilly, Victoria)


English cuisine:

Old-fashioned and atmospheric all-daybreakfast café in Soho. Closed Sun | 101 Wardour St. | tel. 77 34 37 50 | tube: Piccadilly Circus (Bakerloo, Piccadilly) | Budget

Between Thursdays and Sundays, the bar, lounge/restaurant on the river Lea offers fabulous views of the Olympic Park, served with London smoked salmon. Booking essential! Thu/Fri 7–11pm, Sat 10am–2pm, 7–11pm, Sun 12 noon–4pm | Stour Rd., Fish Island | tel. 85 25 23 65 | http://www.formans.co.uk | tube: Pudding Mill Lane (DLR) | Moderate–Expensive

Location, location, location! Airy wooden panelled stylish restaurant overlooking the pond in St James’s Park. The menu is original, even if portions are on the small side for the price. Daily, closed Sun evenings | tel. 74 51 99 99 | http://www.innthe park.com | tube: Charing Cross (Bakerloo, Northern) | Moderate

Classic-old-fashioned family run East End caff. The listed decor is stunning: gold and chrome-opal glass outside, wood panelling and wonderful Art Deco style inside. Mon– Sat 7am–5pm | 332 Bethnal Green Rd. | tube: Bethnal Green (Central) | Budget

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more English lunch: at the garden centre! Chef Skye Gyngell presents a small menu with seasonal ingredients. On a budget? Go for the Teahouse. Church Lane (Petersham Road), Richmond, Surrey | tel. 86 05 36 27 | www.petershamnurseries.com | train from Waterloo to Richmond or tube: Richmond (District), then 30 min. Thames walk or bus no. 65 or 371 | Expensive, Teahouse | Moderate

Sound fish & chips in an increasingly trendy street in Spitalfields. The fish comes in fresh from Billingsgate Market and according to the owners is caught sustainably. Mon–Thu 11am–11pm, Fri/Sat to 11.30pm, Sun to 10.30pm | 6–8 Hanbury St. | tel. 72 47 08 92 | http://www.poppiesfishandchips.co.uk | tube: Liverpool St., Old St.(Northern) | Budget

Best of British in Borough Market’s Floral Hall, with a view of St Paul’s. Slightly expensive for what it is, but where else can you order an English Pinot Noir? Great breakfast, early opening for the market folk. Closed Sun eve | Stoney St. | tel. (0)84 50 34 73 00 | http://www.roast-restaurant.com | tube: London Bridge | Moderate

London’s oldest chippie has been frying since 1871. Variable service. Takeaway cheaper and quicker. Daily | 47 Endell St. | tube: Covent Garden (Piccadilly) | Budget

London’s oldest restaurant (since 1798), famous for its steaks and game dishes, oysters and pies, has something of an old country house: massive wooden panelling, heavy curtains, velvet coverings, on the walls paintings, prints and hunting trophies. Beautiful skylight. Mon–Sat 12 noon–11.45pm, Sun to 10.45pm | 35 Maiden Lane | tel. 78 36 53 14 | http://www.rules.co.uk | tube: Covent Garden (Piccadilly) | Moderate


Buy the London Marco Polo Guide.

London Marco Polo Guide

What’s the best thing you have ever tasted in London? Comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.